New To Sales Management? Here’s What You Need to Know.
Sales management is hard work, but it’s also very rewarding. It’s not a passive management position, and you’re not a placeholder. The decisions you make and the methods you use to manage your team make a real difference in their performance.
This is especially true of inexperienced team members, who might come in with all the raw talent needed to excel, but with no clue how to put that talent into practice. With more experienced team members, you might find yourself in more of a trusted adviser role. These aren’t people who need instruction at every turn. Instead, they might need someone to bounce ideas off of, or guide them back in the right direction if they hit a rough patch.
Of course, all along you will also be managing the team dynamic. That means dealing with personalities, resolving disputes, and just generally keeping everyone on the same page. Your senior team members can be a major help in this regard, and in every other step of your journey. Sales management is an exciting career, and you have all the tools you need to be successful. Now you just need a plan. Here are four tips that will help you excel in your new sales management position.
A Team of Individuals
It’s easy to get caught up in chasing the salesperson archetype. You know who we mean. This person is exceptionally confident, but not arrogant. They command the attention of a room as soon as they walk in, and somehow convert even the most skeptical customers. They get the job done because they know they are going to get the job done.
It’d be great to have a team full of people like this, but that’s not how reality works. Even the best salespeople don’t walk into their first day of training with the perfectly honed skills and confidence they need to succeed. It takes time to develop those things, and everyone moves at their own pace. So recognize that while you’re managing a team, it’s really a group of individuals, each with their own needs and paths to success.
Train With Purpose
You can save a lot of headaches later by offering comprehensive training up front. Comprehensive is the key word, here. You’ll find that new recruits often need training in the little things as much as they need training on the big concepts. As you develop your training program, consider the questions you had when you first started in sales, and ask for the input of experienced team members, too.
The most important thing about training is that it never really ends. Rolling out a new product or service? Get your people the information they need to sell it effectively. The very best salespeople never stop learning. There’s always another tool or technique to learn about, and they embrace the challenge.
Collaboration Is Key
Your team will function best when everyone is working together, and rooting for one another to succeed. There will always be competition in sales, and that’s a good thing. In a sales management position, your job is to make sure that the competition is healthy, and that it leads to productive ends.
Collaboration is especially important in the modern sales environment, with so many digital tools being used. It’s easy for important information to get lost in the shuffle when that information is passing through many hands and many devices. Keep your team working together and cooperating with marketing by demonstrating the benefits of collaboration yourself. Everyone makes more money when the team works together.
Give Them the Tools They Need
Technology is the trump card in your quest to build a great sales team. In the beginning, it’s a great educational tool. Supplement your training program by offering a list of your favorite online resources, where new recruits can learn more about common questions. Show them where and how you get your leads, and how you manage customer relationships.
Your most important tech tool is your sales technology platform. Managing information is a huge, time-consuming part of making sales, and that’s where your tech platform truly shines. It’s your team’s one-stop shop for all the information they need on the customer they’re dealing with, a central location to store and access customer data in real time.
In the end, sales management isn’t so different from other types of management. Success starts with a solid foundation, which your onboarding program should offer. After that, your job is to manage personalities, infuse new best practices, and keep an open door for your team members. Your job as a manager is never really done. That’s part of the challenge, but let’s be honest. It’s also part of the fun.